Mumtaz Alam Falahi


In December 2010 Samata Party,  a traditional ally of Bhartiya Janata Party, came to power in Bihar with overwhelming majority. Installing its leader Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister and ending the  long  rule of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Lalu Yadav. Whatever other mistakes Lalu Yadav might have committed, he ensured the safety of Muslims. This is not so under Nitish Kumar as apparent from the brutality against a group of Muslims.


Patna: The Bihar police are becoming more brutal and communal under the rule of Nitish Kumar who is heading a coalition government of Janata Dal (United) and Bharatiya Janata Party. In less than six months in Muslim-dominated Araria district, the police have opened fire to kill Muslim rural protesters on two different occasions.


On 3rd June 2011, residents of Rampur and Bhajanpur villages under Forbesganj block in Araria district came out, after Juma Prayer, to protest against blockade of the connecting road between the two villages for a factory. The police not only opened fire on the protestors but chased them to their homes, entered in and killed even women and infant pointblank. Six people including two women and a six-month-old infant of the two villages of 90% Muslim population were killed. While the state government claims that four people were killed, has got a video of the bodies of all six victims including the infant.


What exposes the brutal face of the police is the bullet marks on the bodies. All the victims have got bullets on head, face, neck, chest and abdomen. This clearly tells that the police opened fire on them to kill not to just terrorize them. There are burnt marks around the bullet holes, evident that they were killed pointblank. Moreover, video clip shows bullet marks on walls and windows of homes.


The poverty that looms large on the area belies the police claim that protestors were armed and they fired on police.


Rampur and Bhajanpur villages (90% Muslim population) had an old connecting road. For last some time they were using the NH 57 but after it was converted into a four-lane road and a flyover was constructed over it, the villagers stopped using it due to high traffic and accidents and returned to their old road. Meanwhile, the land between the two villages including the road was given to a company Auro Sundaram International Company by Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority to set up a Glucose factory.


The villagers demanded that their road is not disturbed. If not the same, they should be given alternative road. But none heeded to their demand. However, of late some talks began between the villagers and the company officials with the mediation of the district administration.


There was a meeting on Wednesday (1st June 2011) between the company officials, administration and villagers. They agreed on a road but next day (on Thursday) the company turned back and started blocking the road. The news spread like wildfire and next day (on Friday), hundreds of people of the area came out protesting after Friday prayer. They demolished the portion blocking the road and put on fire a jeep of the company. Senior officers including SP reached the site. Police fired on the protestors. They chased them to village, entered their homes and killed people including women and infants.


Influence of Sangh Parivar in the district


Over many years, Araria district, though has Muslim population (41%), has elected BJP candidates. Bhajanpur and Rampur villages come under Rampur Panchayat which comes under Forbesganj block. The block falls in Forbesganj Assembly constituency which is held by BJP MLA Padam Parag Roy ‘Venu’. Local MLC is Ashok Agarwal, also BJP. And Araria district is represented in Lok Sabha by BJP’s Pradeep Kumar Singh. Since JDU-BJP alliance came to power six years back, RSS has held several meetings here inviting top Sangh leaders Very interestingly, one of the directors of the Auro Sundaram International Company is Saurabh Agarwal, son of BJP MLC Ashok Agarwal.


“The entire region has been peaceful. Never any ISI ‘agent’ was picked up from here, but for last some years the entire belt has been presented as haven for terrorists. Sangh and BJP people have been making such propaganda. ABVP calls it chicken net. Since BJP came to power in alliance with JDU, RSS and Sangh have held here several meetings and their top leaders have arrived here,” says Mr Nayyaruzzaman, state president of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. He belongs to Araria district and was living there until one month back when he was elected state president of JIH and shifted to Patna but he frequently visits Araria.


Police becoming lawless under Nitish regime


Condemning the bloody police firing on local Muslims, Mr Nayyaruzzaman said: “The wrong policies of Nitish Kumar Government have made state police lawless. Full power has been given to police that is violating civil rights.”


“If there was any dispute it should have been resolved through dialogue. If the police had worked with wisdom, the tragedy could have been averted.”


He sent a two-member team to the affected area on Saturday to find out the truth. The firing had taken place at 3 pm on Friday. Fortunately, the team could get to the bodies of the victims and what they saw and captured in the video is simply shocking. Young kid, and women were killed pointblank. Six were killed including one child and two women.


Government claims and media carried it that villagers attacked police party with arms and there was an encounter between police and public for one hour. But Mr Nayyaruzzaman refutes it saying, “It is false. The villagers are very poor, they are jute mill laborers.” And this is evident from the cluster of huts and kuccha houses in the villages.


This police firing has occurred in less than six months. About 17 km away from this firing spot is Batraha village in Kursakanta area in the same district. At Batraha, on 20th December 2010, SSB jawans had opened fire on the Muslim protestors when they reached the camp to complain that some of the jawans the previous night had entered one of village homes and misbehaved with women. Four Muslims were killed in that firing. They were Mohammad Shahnawaz, Mohammad Jabir, Mohammad Qurban and Far Mr Nayyaruzzaman has demanded dismissal of SP and all policemen involved in the firing in Forebesganj, Rs 10 lakh to kin of each deceased, Rs 1 lakh to each injured and a job to the family whose lone breadwinner has fell to the police bullets. He also demanded a road to the villages from the government land. “Govt has huge swath of land there. They got it after Bhodan Andoanl when many local landed Muslims donated their land,” he informed. This is a tragic turn of history that Muslim landed people donated land to the government but when members of the same community today demand a road they are given bullets.


Jamaat Islami is planning to give a bandh call against the police firing. “I will visit Araria in two days. If government  does not fulfill the demand we will call a one day hartal and chakka jam at each block and district headqurter.



Top - Home